Joyous music vintage 1958, on the cusp between bop and modal: Miles is cool as ice, a Philly-Joe kick on every beat, Chambers romps infectiously, you can feel the smile on Adderley’s face as his alto soars on the updrafts, Coltrane’s figures twist and dart with neurotic beauty. Gone are the rigid chord progressions of bop standards. In their place the structure is based simply on alternating chords as the musical canvas. What matters is what is painted on the canvas, the freedom to be spontaneous and melodically inventive.
Wonderful, more intoxicating than the finest champagne, this record should carry a happiness warning. The prequel to Kind of Blue, the twin of Somethin’ Else. If you don’t own it, get it. If you have a lesser issue, seek out an original. If you have it, don’t waste time reading LJC, go play it. If you are playing it now, good. Feel the smile spreading.
Miles Davis (t) Cannonball Adderley (as) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC, February 4 and March 4,1958, engineer: Harold Chapman.
Launch of the Hula Hoop, over 100 million are sold. Many chiropracters become millionaires overnight. The first transatlantic jet passenger service is launched, but held back awaiting the invention of the return ticket. Sputnik 1 crashes on re-entry, losing forever photos of Pink Floyd on the Dark Side.
The best Davis record, apart from all the others. Coltrane had just come out of detox. Miles, back from Paris, added Cannonball Adderley’s alto to his quintet. Trane’s cubist abstractions and Cannonball’s bluesy lyricism offered him the contrasts that he was looking for, while his rhythm section provided the perfect foil for every tempo.
The problem, musically, was Red Garland. Red was tiring of Miles’ demands to increase the piano’s entrances and exits. Miles, however, was searching for a way to free himself from the harmonic constraints of the piano. One day Garland got up in middle of a session on“Sid’s Ahead” and left. Problem solved.
This is the significance of the compositions here, such as Miles, in which the constraining progressions of bop are replaced by a simple harmonic colours, a platform for spontaneous musical invention. Miles had entered the world of modal jazz. This is your entry ticket
Vinyl: Columbia CL 1193 Six Eye mono Deep Groove
Original issue, released September 2, 1958
Source: Ebay (US)
Sellers Description: NICE COPY OF THIS JAZZ CLASSIC FROM 55 YEARS AGO!!COVER IS IN VG++ CONDITION WITH LIGHT RINGWEAR AND A FEW OTHER SCUFFS. VINYL IS EXCELLENT WITH LIGHT WEAR BUT NO NOTICEABLE SCRATCHES! THIS IS THE VERY RARE ORIGINAL DEEP GROOVE PRESSING WITH THE “6-EYE” LABELS! MONO PRESSING!! MATRIX NUMBERS IN DEAD WAX: XLP43598-1AB AND XLP43599-1L.
I had this record for several years as a UK pressing, never really played it much. Despite its Fontana provenance, it lacked any serious presence, pressed towards the end of the stamper life may be, or lacklustre re-mastering by Philips, whatever the reason. It took a renewed interest in Miles and an insight into the quality of Columbia original pressings to get excited again. On to Ebay for copies of a six-eye from the US. This one was desirable, to judge by the eighteen bids.
Sorry fellas, must fly. One way ticket.
Postscript: Philips Fontana UK 1st release (1958)